South Africa's Boxing Legends

Image Copyright: Getty Images

Boxing remains one of the most loved sports in South Africa and the country has produced many great boxers.
We take a look at the top five South African boxing legends.

Dingaan Thobela

The retired boxer is a two-weight world champion with his career having spanned more than 20 years.
Nicknamed 'The Rose of Soweto', Thobela won the WBO Lightweight title in 1990 after beating Mauricio Aceves and successfully defended the belt three times.
The Rose of Soweto then relinquished the title and fought for the WBA Lightweight title which he won on his second attempt having lost the first fight against Tony Lopez in 1993
Thobela later moved up significantly in weight class, and in the twilight of his career in 2000 he won the WBC Super Middleweight title.
The 53-year-old legend won the WBO and WBA titles seven years apart which is a rare feat in boxing.

“I was a disciplined fighter because I worked hard and I was focused. My strength was my mental capacity, as I used to analyze each fight,” Thobela said on Forbes Africa.

“My fight against Mbaduli Mpisekhaya was very interesting because he was a strong fighter and he was determined to win. I had prepared myself well for that fight and I was ready for the battle. It is good that I stayed focused during that fight and was able to win.”

Gerrie Coetzee

The Boksburg-born legend is widely considered to be one of the greatest South African heavyweights of all-time.
Coetzee was the first African ever to fight for, and win, a world heavyweight championship, having held the WBA title from 1983 to 1984.
Also known as the 'Boksburg Bomber', Coetzee holds notable knockout wins against former world heavyweight champions Michael Dokes, Leon Spinks and Pinklon Thomas.
In 1983, the Boksburg Bomber defeated WBA Heavyweight champion Dokes to become South Africa's first Caucasian world heavyweight champion in 23 years.
The fight was named KO Magazine's "Upset of The Year" for 1983.
'He is the fittest heavyweight around after me. He has a perfect build, strong legs, big shoulders. There's no way we're taking this fight lightly,' Bruno said.

R25 Free bet

Jacob Matlala

The late boxer was the shortest boxing world champion ever and made a big impact despite being only 1,47 meters tall.
Better known as Baby Jake Matlala, he was WBO champion at light fly and flyweight during his successful 22-year career.
By the time he decided to retire from professional boxing, Baby Jake had won four championships and even presented the WBU belt to Nelson Mandela in 2002.
Former South Africa president Mandela was present at ringside during Matlala's fight against Juan Herrera at Carnival City in Brakpan on the East Rand, Gauteng.
Baby Jake sadly passed away in December 2013 having been voted number 72 in the "100 Greatest South Africans" poll organized by SABC.

"Even with the disadvantages he had of being 4-foot-10 with short arms, he was a brilliant fighter," South African boxing legend Brian Mitchell said on Sport 24.

"He would sign autographs for children for hours and they would stand in queues. It was never too much trouble for him. His kindness was like the great Madiba."

You might enjoy: Three of the Best Ever Boxers According to Weight Division

Vic Toweel

The late fighter is widely regarded as the greatest South African bantamweight boxer, having enjoyed some success in the 1950s.
Toweel was South Africa’s first world champion and achieved it at the age of 21 by defeating an established boxer in Manuel Ortiz in 1950.

During his reign as a world champion, Toweel had 13 bouts consisting of three successful title defences and 10 successful non-title fights against world rated contenders.

Nicknamed 'Benoni Atom', Toweel's greatest asset as a fighter was his ability to throw non-stop batteries of punches without tiring.
Benoni Atom, who also competed at the 1948 Olympic Games, died in Sydney, Australia in 2008 at the age of 80.

Brian Mitchell

The accomplished boxer is widely considered to be the greatest South African boxer of all-time because of his success in the super featherweight division.
Mitchell captured the WBA and Lineal super featherweight title in 1986 with a win over Alfredo Layne and defended the belt a record 12 times, and never lost a title fight.
The 58-year-old also clinched the IBF super featherweight title with a decision win over Tony Lopez in 1991 and retired after the fight.
Mitchell is known for relentlessly coming forward and throwing a high number of punches to his opponent's head and body during his career.
Many feel that Mitchell could have achieved more if he was not hampered by restrictions placed on South Africa due to its apartheid policy.


Bet on boxing with Betway


We bring you the very best in boxing and you can now bet using your both mobile and desktop computer. Place your bets with ease and back your favourite boxers at a click of a button. Betway offers just what you want in the world of live betting on boxing. Roll with the punches and keep up with the action in the ring as we bring you competitive odds that’ll deliver the knockout punch. Bet on the big boxing matchups with Betway South Africa.  

Bet on boxing with Betway

For all the latest sports news, betting tips and promotions follow Betway on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTubeDownload the Betway App

Published: 04/21/2020